Four-time African Footballer of the Year Samuel Eto’o says he made FC Barcelona win and not Lionel Messi during his time under Pep Guardiola.
Eto’o, 38, who now plays with QSL side Qatar Sports Club was less than complimentary to Guardiola who sold the African superstar to Inter after helping Barca lift a treble including the Champions League title in the 2008/09 season.
The prolific striker who then went on to win another treble under Jose Mourinho in the following season in Italy, has finally spoken about his fractious relationship with Guardiola in an interview with beIN SPORTS.
“Pep has lived his whole life in Barcelona, but in the years I spent in Barcelona, he didn’t understand the squad. He didn’t live the life of our group,” Eto’o said.
Rumours of a rift between the pair were rife at the time as Guardiola had a preference to play Messi often at the expense of the striker, and Eto’o was clear to Guardiola that he was the key man in attack for the side.
“I said to Guardiola, you’ll apologise to me, because it’s me that will make Barcelona win, it’s not Messi.
“It was the situation back then. Messi would come later, but you can ask Xavi, Iniesta and others, that was my era.”
The air was soon cleared between player and manager, with Guardiola asking forgiveness from his striker. “It was me that made Barca win, and Pep would ask me for forgiveness.”
Eto’o scored 130 goals and registered 40 assists in 190 games for the Blaugrana over five seasons at the club.